Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Likes, Retweets, and Links: Measuring PR Value in Social Media

As public relations professionals, we constantly need to prove our worth to clients through both quantitative and qualitative means.  For many years, this meant providing ad equivalencies to give the appearance of a dollar value for media coverage, even though the numbers are not truly comparable.  We’ve rid ourselves of this antiquated system, but social media now poses an even greater question of how to measure PR value.  Can you assign a price to Facebook “likes”?  Is every retweet worth the same amount, or do some carry more weight than others? 

On April 18, PPRA held a lively discussion on social media ROI in today’s media-laden communications landscape.  Including non-profit and in-house pros as well as PR agency experts, our panel shared diverse perspectives about measuring value in the digital sphere.   Check out some of their key takeaways:

Rebecca Morley, Vice President, Devine + Partners
  • There is no one size fits all ROI for social media.  It could be qualitative, quantitative or a mix of both.  It depends on your goals. 
  • Utilize social media monitoring tools, like Radian6 and Hootsuite, to collect data and create visual materials to explain value to clients.   
  • Recognize the limitations of social media and the need to invest time in it.  You may post a tweet but half of your users won’t see it if they aren’t online. 
Kwan Morrow, Social Networking Manager, GregoryFCA
  • Social media is happening with or without you, so it’s better to build a plan to engage and guide the conversation than play catch up later.
  • Consider breaking down social media measurement by macro (overall client business objectives) and micro (use of platform, how many comments or likes generated).
  • Take advantage of social media conversations and sentiment research to inform the development of additional PR tactics for clients.

Yvette Nunez, VP of Fundraising & External Affairs, Congreso de Latinos Unidos
  • For nonprofits, social media is a great way to get feedback on programs and services without sending out formal surveys.
  • Identify the key audience for each social media outlet to get the results you want.  Congreso uses Facebook to gain ‘street cred’ with people using their services, but uses Twitter to engage donors. 
  • Measuring the number of followers or likes is important, but who those followers or fans are is even more important.  Getting a retweet from someone like the Mayor is an endorsement worth far more than analytics can measure for a nonprofit. 

Farra D’Orazio, Director of PR, Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia
  • Social media content is not just the responsibility of PR professionals.  Other departments must provide relevant information to increase the benefit to fans and followers. 
  • Posting content just for the sake of posting doesn’t add value.  Make every piece of content serve a purpose.
  • Social media is one of the greatest forms of “word of mouth” endorsements.  If someone posts a picture of our restaurant’s food with a great review, it means more than a pretty picture in a magazine. 

This blog post was written by Christine Guerrini. Christine Guerrini is a member of the public relations team at Tierney agency in Center City Philadelphia. A Villanova grad, Christine specializes in media relations, social media, events, and research. She has worked with clients in a variety of fields, including consumer, non-profit, and B2B. In her free time, Christine arranges music and sings with the a cappella group "The Graduates." Connect with Christine on Twitter (@CMGuerrini) or at


  1. Thanks for mentioning us! Great post, very insightful. :)


  2. Social media is one of the greatest forms of “word of mouth” endorsements. If someone posts a picture of our restaurant’s food with a great review, it means more than a pretty picture in a magazine.

    Media Monitoring


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